This week’s trip was to Chawton, another of my favourite places, [and I am sure it has been on TV at some time].
It is a prime example of a pretty little English village which is really no different to any of its neighbours – except that someone famous once lived there. Not so much a one horse town as a one famous resident village [1FRV?].
We once lived in a 1FRV – East Bergholt in Suffolk, where John Constable was born. I enjoyed living there – the touristy bit was some distance away and the money the tourists spent helped to keep the village shops and other facilities running.
Chawton is Hampshire’s 1FRV – and its famous resident was my favourite author, who lived there from 1809 – 1817. She is probably the only author all of whose books I own and have read, most of them frequently. The exception, which I have only read once, is “The History of England by a partial, prejudiced & ignorant Historian”, - so I bought it there, just so I could claim to own all her works. There is a very comprehensive book shop in the house, with several pictures of Colin Firth, should you need one ... [Another local boy, incidentally.]
In case you haven’t guessed, the famous person is Jane Austen, and it was her house we went to visit. We have been several times before, and never fail to enjoy it. Chawton Cottage is a lovely little house, one many people would be glad to own [including us].
The garden is also pleasant - the spring flowers were just blooming and I noticed that there is now a small 'dye garden'.
An additional treat this time was an exhibition of some of the costumes from the recent BBC production of ‘Sense and Sensibility’. I think I enjoyed the costumes more than the production.
If you are interested the exhibition continues into early May. There is no tea shop at the house – there is one across the road but unfortunately it was closed.